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Business and economy news and issues in the Ozarks.

SGF Nonprofits Generate $4 Billion For City Economy

Mike Smith

A recent study commissioned by the CFO and the Musgrave Foundation, shows Springfield’s nonprofit community as a major player in the social and economic structure of the city. Dan Prater led the study, as Director of the Center for Nonprofit Communication at Drury University. “With the study, I wanted not only to clarify some misconceptions, but I wanted people to know that nonprofits are players.” To the tune of $4 Billion dollars a year in Springfield alone, 20% of the city’s total revenue. Dan Prater says one of the biggest myths about nonprofits is they aren’t supposed to make a profit. “What we want to do is help people understand that it’s ok for a nonprofit to make money. The difference being that we don’t disperse any profits to our shareholders or our people. What we do is plant it right back into the organization to strengthen the mission.”

Dan Prater says this study, The 2014 Nonprofit Impact Study for Springfield Mo., is a much needed document which will be put to good use. “This is a publication that can actually go into the hands of people who potentially have the influence to assist in the mission. We’re using this as a catalyst to get people to talk, to get organizations to work together, to lock arms every chance we can. That’s the only way we can succeed, if we work together.”

The study identified over 1,500 nonprofit organizations working within the Springfield city limits, and if you look closer at the numbers, which of course is exactly what the study did, Dan Prater says it’s easy to see what that means to the city’s economy. “It’s simple math. Over 51% of all people who work in the city every day, work for nonprofits.” That translates to over 38,000 persons employed by nonprofits in Springfield. “The vast majority of those people work in health care. Cox and Mercy alone are employing the bulk of those people, but even if you take them out of the equation, you’ll still find over 10,000 people every day who are working in helping organizations doing some type of work to make our community a better place.”

Brian Fogle is President of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. “One of the things that words and numbers can’t reflect though, is the stories and the impact these nonprofits are having on individuals. I think it’s important to note the extreme diversity of nonprofits in this study. From health, to poverty alleviation and education, every cause you can think of, we’ve probably got a nonprofit in our community working passionately to address the issue. The numbers tell a good story, but there’s so much of that story we need to continue to tell.”

The 40 page hard copy of the report is available at the Center for Nonprofit Communication at Drury University. The study is also available on line at Among the 1,500 nonprofits studied in the report, is Springfield’s Doula Foundation led by Executive Director Faith Giedd. “The Doula Foundation mission is to provide emotional support, care, advocacy and comfort to soon to be parents. We’re there before the birth, during the birth and postpartum. Doula is a Greek word meaning Mothering the Mother.”

Springfield’s Doula Foundation, an agency partner of the CFO, served over 300 families in 2013, but had to turn others away. Faith Giedd says the 2014 Nonprofit Impact Study will open many doors for Doula Foundation collaboration. “For me it was a snapshot to see what each organization is doing, where we are now, and maybe who we can be locking arms with to meet the needs of our community. There’s big nonprofits and small nonprofits, and I’m all about working together to do what’s best for the community. The Doula Foundation is a small nonprofit but we’re open to collaborate and lock arms. This study is helping see who we could potentially lock arms with, and help us with grantors. Who we’re writing grants to, what information they might be looking for as far as evidenced based and hard data.”

CFO President Brian Fogle: “We reflect the Ozarks, and that’s a giving generous place. The stories each of the individual nonprofits can tell about how they changed a life, how they saved a life, how they’ve transformed communities and neighborhoods, that’s the real story to me, that we need to continue to elevate.”

For more information about the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, it’s grants, initiatives, programs, and its 40 plus affiliate foundations across southern Missouri,

Mike Smith's career at KSMU began in 1980 as a student announcer when the former Navy Submariner attended (then) SMSU with help from the GI Bill. In 1982 Smith became a full time member of the KSMU family as "Chief Announcer", responsible for the acquisition, training and scheduling of the student announcing staff. It was also in 1982 when Smith first produced "Seldom Heard Music" a broadcast of Bluegrass which is still heard on KSMU and every Saturday night at 7CT.